Well, folks, here I am, enjoying the glorious warmth of the Sunshine State. (That would be Florida, NOT New Jersey!) I feel so alive now that I am back on the coast. I know it’s corny, but I have often thought of my mother being the clean, white sand and my father the roaring ocean. Of course, that would make me a son of a beach, but who cares? I love salt water, and since I have over 40 years of scuba diving experience under my (weight) belt, I feel right at home in the Atlantic Ocean.
Unfortunately, home is where many fatal injuries are sustained… and today was almost one of those days. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water in West Palm Beach, a horde of black-tip sharks showed up in the shallow water! My dive buddies and I counted over 600 sharks, which is roughly 599 more than I feel comfortable with! So much for diving and snorkeling. I even feel guilty about asking my wife to retrieve my buoyancy vest and face mask. (She only had to swim out ten or twenty yards, but I still feel a twinge of remorse.)
In case you’re wondering, I fell in love with scuba diving after watching countless episodes of SEA HUNT. Do you remember that T.V. show? Lloyd Bridges played a character named Mike Nelson, who ran a dive shop with his brother David, and their parents, Ozzie and Harriet. Wait a minute, I think I got that wrong. Never mind, the show was “all wet” anyway.
After our involuntary shark encounter, we drove up to Jacksonville, signed some books, and attended a gala dinner in my honor at a wonderful seafood restaurant called St. Mary’s Seafood House. If you’re ever on this coast, you must try this establishment. (Think incredible friend oysters and shrimp.) My little presentation was a huge success and we actually sold a lot of books. (I know that some of you, including my agent, Jesse James Lipschitz, are curious about which books sold the best, so here is the ranking….. 1. The Graceland Gang 2. The Second Mourning 3. Devil’s Cove 4. Ransom on the Rhone, and last but not least, 5. The Pirate Path
After dinner, I was asked to judge a wet t-shirt contest, but since the contestants were male, I declined the offer. (Been there, done that.) When I got back to my car, I discovered that the windshield was covered with bird poop! (The area is filled with egrets, and their cousins who are always apologizing for pooping on your car. They’re called regrets.) I fired a couple of warning shots at them, but the damn vandals have no fear of human beings. The next time I drive up this way, I’m bringing a cat.
Tomorrow we head for the charming town of Beaufort, South Carolina. If you want to check out my digs, look up the Rhett House Bed & Breakfast. I think you might find the history of this place quite intriguing. We have a Low Country Boil scheduled for dinner. (I sure hope the “boil” doesn’t refer to the chef’s body.) The following morning we head for St. Helena Island, and a full day of Gullah history. When you get a free moment, look up the Penn Center of South Carolina. I will be signing some books in the lobby, which is quite an honor, because this was the very spot where MLK wrote his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.
Well, it’s been a long day, and I am starting to dream about a good night’s sleep… so I must bid you farewell. Let’s plan to meet again next Sunday, whence I shall regale you with more tales from the Low Country. By then, I will be an expert on grits, gravy, and frogmore stew! Have a safe and happy week!
Love to all…